2012 Cambodia

South gate, entrance to Ankor Thom, Siem Reap Cambodia Getting ready to visit Bayon Temple, the central temple of the ancient city of Angkor Thom. Let's take a group picture before we got lost inside the ancient temple... The curious smiling image of "Mona Lisa of Southeast Asia"... the old and the new version... Two of the 216 gigantic faces... plus two smaller faces.. Show some victory signs for blocking the person right behind me.... Do you feel some one is looking over your shoulders?...  We do... Stand up there for a close spiritual communication...  Hmm.... Any resemblance?
I know this dance move too... It must be spectacular back in the 1190s... All the stones are huge and heavy... Just imagine the manpower and time needed to construct this temple... The official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII, Bayon Temple Standing in front of the South gate, the best restored and most popular... Bayon temple was built at the exact center of the walled city, Angkor Thom,  it represents the intersection of heaven and earth. Oh heavenly... A picture before departing Angkor Thom... The smiling faces did put a smile on my face... Let's go to visit the Terrace of the Elephants...
Or is it a platform for?... Oh no... Let me put on my smiley face and visit the Terrace of the Elephants... The smilely faces are subtle...just like this... Are you ready to go up or not?... There are six elephants... I think I can enjoy the royal parties and this viewing platform... I'll be the referee and decide which side wins the tug-of-war... Preah Khan (the sacred sword of King) Standing under the Naga, many-headed mythical serpent... Preah Khan Posing with the winner side... it is a challenge to give it a high five...
Let's go in and find the sword... This is how I pull.... or is it my tai-chi?... Look at his pouting face... I have a beak too... Put away your beak and let's have a picture together... the wall bears a garuda (large mythical bird) holding nagas (mythical serpents). Inside Preah Khan I'm still looking for the sword... Instead I found an old big tree trunk... May be it is better than the sword...
Imagine the amount of force the tree applied to the structure over the years... An interesting corridor with a lovely gate... A couple of nagas... May be this is a two storey apartment?... Nah, no one figured out what the true use of this structure... May be a good place to play hide and seek... Some interesting lions statues... I love lions too... Neak Pean (the entwined serpents) with the central pond all dried up...
The central pond is a replica of Lake Anavatapta in the Himalayas... Naga, the giant serpent, Neak Pean It takes a lot of people pulling it... Before departing for the hot mid-day break... A close up with the naga... Ta Prohm Temple, where the nature assumes its rights... That would be great if they are ginzeng... The Tomb Raider... The roots are just huge...
How old is this tree?.... Another tree of wonder... The rain and wet environment continues to nurtue it... Yew.... run away from there... Small entrance door to the temple... Just wondering how it grows up like that... What a strange sight... Luckily the tree did not grow on top of me... A good place for some shade...
You want to play hide and seek here?... How about let me climb up the tree... Pre Rup (meaning "turn the body"), a temple mountain of brick, laterite and sandstone... Let's see how people got transformed during their funeral and become something else in their next life... I'm not sure I want to climb all the steps... There are not that many steps, but the step height is about 12 inches tall... We'll conquer them in time.... Take a picture first, then a deep breath... See... it's a piece of cake, or rather a piece of V...
We are almost there... still in two pieces... Crouching down for a picture... Almost 6pm, the sun is not as strong... it is steeper than you think... I can see why we need the mid-day break... On top of the world... ah... Pre Rup temple... Standing next to a stone lion, the unusal step height makes it a challenge for some to come back down... Pre Rup was built in 961 or early 962... A lot of the structures had been damaged over the years... Everything they built used a lot of big stones...
Imagine all these back in their glory days... All these towers have three false doors each... you don't want to run through them... Looks like a perfect platform for a speech... Back down on the ground... Pre Rup temple A journey to Banteay Srei (Citadel of Women) temple The door fits for a queen to enter... I have to go into each one and check them out... Oops... an entrance with a faked door... The secret is to find the 4th door, which is not blocked...
Imagine being the women god for a day... We like the deep red sandstone material used... I can explain to you what these are... A view of the Banteay Srei temple outside the perimeter wall... Let's move on to the Banteay Samre Temple... The structures are more massive... I like to get up to higher places... Should I just jump over across?... It's a smart move just to walk down...
The window 'bars" made sure there are plenty of air circulation, Banteay Samre Temple Banteay Samre Temple, dedicated to Hindu, built in the middle of the 12th century. One of the only two countries in the world that uses a building/structure on their national flag... Angkor Wat The archaeologists getting ready for their expeditions... Taking a quiet break from hard work... In the movie of Tomb Raiders, this pond is buzzling with activities... Hmm... the archaeologists may publish a paper sometime in the future... Did we catch the reflection?... Rocket booster at work...
The square inside is quite spacious... My face is all red... due to the sun or the exertion coming up?... I just ran up and down a few times, no sweat... We ran up to this in record time, next... I'm just going to have a picture taken instead of running up there... It's easier than you think... unless you're going up these steps... I've a couple of these last night... surprisingly good... Hmm... Walking down the plank to the Meking River cruise..